Refrigerator Stir Fry: Make the Most of What You Have


Tomorrow is grocery shopping day. In the meantime, you have a family to feed, and all that’s left in the refrigerator are scraps; a quarter of a head of cabbage, a couple of carrots, a few sticks of celery, maybe a couple of radishes and half a turnip. You might have a couple of sausage patties and half a bag of frozen baby lima beans in the freezer. You don’t really have enough of anything to make a meal.

That’s what you think. But these scanty ingredients are perfect for a Chinese-style stir fry that the whole family is sure to love.

Begin by gathering and preparing your ingredients. Scour your refrigerator and freezer for any meats or vegetables that can be combined in your stir fry. Don’t be afraid to go easy on the meats; a little goes a long way when cooking a Chinese stir fry.

Ideally, the stir fry should be served over rice; if you have rice in the house, begin cooking it now so it will be ready when the stir fry is. If you don’t have rice, pasta will work. Be sure not to overcook your pasta. Pasta should be boiled until it’s firm, but no longer crunchy

Cut carrots and celery into strips. Cut radishes into slices. Cabbage can be coarsely chopped or sliced. Turnips can be cut into cubes, or cut them into thin strips for added interest. If you have pineapple chunks, coarsely chopped nuts, or dates, you may want to add these. Lima beans should be steamed thoroughly before being added to the stir fry.

You will want to include two or three cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped, and a sliced onion. Be sure these are ready before you ever turn on the heat.

Once you have all your vegetables on the counter in separate bowls, take out a large skillet or wok and heat a tablespoon of canola oil on High. Add the garlic and onion, and cook, stirring briskly, until the onions begin to turn translucent and the garlic is a rich brown color.

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